Protecting yourself against Identity Theft

The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) mandates rules businesses, organizations and individuals must follow in collecting and processing data in electronic form.  However, in Canada, identity theft is the fastest growing form of consumer fraud. Thousands of citizens, ever year, have their identity stolen and in many cases they are unaware that a crime has taken place.  Over the past year various media reports detailed instances of identity theft or of personal information being misappropriated in some fashion by retailers and businesses.

While we may focus in on the after effects of information theft, we often don’t give much thought to the sequence of events that allowed it to occur in the first place. Reviewing PIPEDA, the federal governments new Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, one becomes aware of how much this law will change the way many practices manage personal information in their care. Among a host of other requirements, safeguards must be in place to protect personal data against loss or theft, unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification, regardless of the format in which it is held. PIPEDA’s key element is to build consumer and business assurance in the knowledge based economy.

However, deception or misrepresentation can take place in the form of information. Be especially careful of 3rd party marketing companies, who may cleverly attempt to disguise their true intentions or mask themselves under the umbrella of a legitimate organization. Do not provide any them with any personally identifiable information. Take time to read e-mails, faxes, letters and information provided to you; ensuring that they are from a genuine business and/or person. One of the best weapons against identity theft is education. On our website you can learn more about internet and e-mail based scams. Phishing, for example, is the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to defraud the user into surrendering private information that is used for identity theft. Do your utmost to protect your identity!  Your personal information needs to be protected.

 

April 22, 2008 / Posted by Manuel James @ 2:35 pm

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